From Valmiki Ramayana, translated by Shulman and AK Ramanujan:

'Listen, Raghava, I'll tell you whose ashram this was and how it was cursed by a great man in anger. It was great Gautama's, this ashram that reminds you of heaven, worshipped even by the gods. Long ago, with Ahalya he practised tapas here I for countless years. Once, knowing that Gautama was away, Indra (called Thousand Eyes), Saci's husband, took on the likeness of the sage, and said to Ahalya: "Men pursuing their desire do not wait for the proper season, O you who have a perfect body. Making love with you: that's what I want. That waist of yours is lovely." She knew it was Indra of the Thousand Eyes in the guise of the sage. Yet she, wrongheaded woman, made up her mind. excited, curious about the king of the gods. And then, her Inner being satisfied, she said to the god, "I'm satisfied, klng of the gods. Go quickly from here. O giver of honour, love, protect yourself and me."

This excerpt showed that Ahalya, contrary to popular opinion, could see through Indra's disguise, and participated in the act willingly as well,

Why does then, Rama save her?

1 Answer 1


The curse on Ahalya by Gautama is not permanent. Goutama himself mentions that Rama will liberate her from the curse.

Valmiki Ramayana, Bala Kanda, translated by Bibek Debroy

Having cursed Shakra, he (Gautama) also cursed his wife. “You will reside here for many thousands of years. Subsisting on air and without food, you will torment yourself through austerities. You will sleep on ashes. You will live in this hermitage, unseen by all creatures. When the invincible Rama, Dasharatha’s son, arrives in this terrible forest, you will be purified. O one who is evil in conduct! When he becomes your guest, you will lose your avarice and confusion. You will then regain your own form and find delight with me.” The extremely energetic Goutama spoke in this way to the one who was evil in conduct.

Moreover, after narrating the account of Ahalya, Viswamitra asks Rama to liberate her from the curse.

O immensely energetic one! Therefore, enter the hermitage of the performer of auspicious deeds. Save the immensely fortunate Ahalya, who has the form of a goddess.’

Therefore, Rama liberates Ahalya from the curse.

  • Why did Gautama said in his curse that she will be saved? Why did he not curse her forever? Afterall she was a mother as well.
    – user32467
    Jan 16 at 7:49
  • 1
    @ArghyaShubhshiv All karmas (actions), whether good or bad, are finite, and they have finite results. Good karmas have finite rewards, bad karmas have finite punishments. Infinite punishment is impossible for a finite act.
    – estimator
    Jan 16 at 10:24
  • What does it mean for an act to be finite?
    – user32467
    Jan 16 at 12:16
  • 1
    @ArghyaShubhshiv Finite means, the acts are limited in scope and time.Like, for example, one can distribute a lot of food to the needy, but not infinite food.
    – estimator
    Jan 16 at 12:54
  • @Arghya Shubshiv: For every crime there is a punishment that specifies modality and duration. After the long time lapsed, Gautama did not want an automatic closure of curse but wanted it be known to all, associating the event with Yugpurush Lord Rama. Btw, Indra acquired thousand apparent eyes after Goutama's curse, not before her consent.
    – Narasimham
    Jan 16 at 13:33

You must log in to answer this question.